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Third-time lucky with winner Mourinho for United

By AFP

Added 28th May 2016 08:25 AM

Ferguson's retirement in 2013 was always going to leave an enormous void to fill at Old Trafford after the legendary Scot bowed out as a Premier League winner, taking his tally to 25 major honours in his 27-year reign as manager.

Third-time lucky with winner Mourinho for United

Jose Mourinho arrives back at his home in central London on May 26, 2016. LEON NEAL / AFP

Ferguson's retirement in 2013 was always going to leave an enormous void to fill at Old Trafford after the legendary Scot bowed out as a Premier League winner, taking his tally to 25 major honours in his 27-year reign as manager.


Manchester United will be expecting to make it third time lucky in their attempt to replace Alex Ferguson with the appointment of Jose Mourinho as the club's new manager.

Ferguson's retirement in 2013 was always going to leave an enormous void to fill at Old Trafford after the legendary Scot bowed out as a Premier League winner, taking his tally to 25 major honours in his 27-year reign as manager.

More than that, Ferguson's character, methods, discipline, loyalty and fierce will to win were ingrained throughout a club that regards itself as the biggest in the world.

It was always said following Ferguson would be the impossible job, and it has turned out to be too big for two men: David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

Moyes lasted just 12 months before making way for Van Gaal, who was denied a third year in the post when he was sacked in the aftermath of United's FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace, the first honour the club had won since Ferguson called it a day.

Finishing fifth in the Premier League and failing to qualify for the Champions League, along with a diet of uninspiring football, proved to be Van Gaal's undoing and paved the way for the appointment of Mourinho on a three-year contract.

"Jose is quite simply the best manager in the game today," said United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

United are therefore doing their best to take no chances in hiring a manager who, as near as it gets in the modern game, is guaranteed to bring success.

The Portuguese, 53, has won multiple league titles in England, Spain, Italy and Portugal and led both Porto and Inter Milan to success in the Champions League. He has managed the big beasts of Real Madrid and Chelea, twice, in the Roman Abramovich era.

He has long since coveted the United managerial job and, having finally got his wish, the hard work starts here.

This current United side is not so much one in transition as one, arguably, still in decline.

Van Gaal spent around £250-million (329 million euros, $365 million) on adding to the squad he inherited but this season they finished one place lower in the league and went out of the group stages of the Champions League.

 

- Unbalanced squad -

The squad still looks unbalanced and, by Van Gaal's own recognition, lacking in pace and creativity.

Mourinho therefore faces an immediate challenge in recruiting new players, without the temptation of Champions League football in year one.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic may well be one of the first arrivals and the striker, who played under Mourinho in Milan, will add the kind of stardust United's supporters want to see.

Just as pressingly, Mourinho needs to strengthen through the spine of his team, at centre-back and in central midfield, as well as add quality in the wide positions.

Money will be no object, with United continuing to post record commercial figures, but Mourinho also needs to build a 'team'.

United have lost their way without Ferguson's drive and direction with the club opting not to try and recapture it in the shape of record appearance holder Ryan Giggs, the assistant manager again overlooked for the top job.

At his best, Mourinho has proved himself capable of forging a side with a 'band-of-brothers' type mentality with players prepared to give everything for the cause, a feature of the teams that brought him three Premier League titles at Chelsea.

When that goes wrong, it upsets those around him and authority figures in the game. Things unravelled badly at Chelsea before his departure from the fallen champions last year.

But that has been a blip on an almost constantly upward career trajectory. United have overlooked it and their supporters will be overjoyed at landing a manager who always seemed destined to arrive.

It may be a bumpy ride and it's likely to be revolution and not evolution at Old Trafford. But United have got their man and, like Ferguson, he's a winner.

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